The Warsaw Stock Exchange in June signed a cooperation agreement with Haitong Bank, owned by a leading Chinese securities broker in Asia. China is looking at Poland with big eyes and large pockets, as a hub for entering the European financial services market.
The WSE also signed a similar agreement with a Chinese financial markets regulatory agency after delegates from China arrived in Warsaw.
“The Haitong ownership is significant on the Polish market because of the owner’s brokerage experience from China stock exchange markets and a strong capitalization of the Group,” said Bartłomiej Dmitruk, Senior Country Officer of Haitong Bank in Poland.
The WSE agreement with Haitong Bank is the foundation for both parties to engage in a mutual exchange of information related to capital markets across both Poland and China where the firms operate as financial market operator and market participant, respectively.
“Initiatives such as the agreement signed today, prove Haitong fills an important niche in investment banking services, building a bridge between Chinese and CEE markets,” Dmitruk added.
“We believe together we can create an efficient platform for the exchange of information on financial markets, strengthen the relationship and cooperate in selected areas,” José Maria Ricciardi, CEO of Haitong Bank, said.
“China is looking for a safe haven in our part of Europe, where it can allocate a part of its huge assets,” according to Małgorzata Zaleska, CEO of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. “In the dynamically changing international balance of powers, Warsaw is the natural choice for Beijing.”
“As the only country in the EU, not only did we avoid a recession, but actually reported growth. The Polish economy is based on strong foundations and is free of macroeconomic imbalances. In our part of Europe, we are the largest country with the highest population; with this potential, Chinese companies and investors can achieve greater benefits in Poland than in any other European country.”
Zaleska added in a statement regarding the deal: “China is still one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a place where financial centres of global importance are developing dynamically. The aim of the agreement with Haitong Bank is to initiate a closer, mutually beneficial relationship. Its effect, in addition to a better understanding of existing situations on the markets in which we operate, will be a deepened relationship with key stakeholders not only in the People’s Republic of China, but also in entire Asia.”
China’s President Xi Jinping said on a visit to Warsaw in June that he saw an important role for Poland as his country looks to increase commercial ties with Europe.
Xi spoke during a visit to Warsaw that was intended to boost Chinese investment in infrastructure and energy and open the Chinese market to Polish food producers.
Poland has been China’s largest partner in central and eastern Europe, with trade worth tens of billions of euro. But Poland is chiefly an importer and is hoping to boost its economy by increasing exports, mainly of farm products and especially beef and apples, banned by major importer Russia.
“I am convinced that Poland can continue to have a very important role in building ties between China and Europe,” Xi told a news conference. “There is a very high convergence between China’s initiative (to develop European ties) and Poland’s development plan.”
Xi noted that China’s new approach to its own economic development is based on new technologies and environmental projects.
He and Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an agreement to step up bilateral ties. Some 40 deals and memoranda of understanding were signed Monday, mostly related to construction, raw materials, energy, new technologies, finance and science.
“I hope that for China, Poland will become a gateway to Europe,” Duda said, noting that Poland’s biggest port in Gdansk has potential to handle large volumes of trade.
Jacek Bartosik, an expert with the Jagiellonian Club’s Analysis Center, said it’s important for Poland to establish strong links with fast-growing economies outside of Europe.
“The center of gravity of the world economy is no longer in Europe, but on the Pacific coast,” he said.
Poland is the first country in Central and Eastern-Europe to reach USD10bn trade volume with China. Since 2005, it has been China’s biggest trade partner in the region, especially in agricultural trade.
According to China’s General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade between China and Poland were USD17.1bn in 2015.
According to Poland’s Central Statistical Office’s data, the country imported 11.6 per cent goods from China, higher than 2014’s 10.4 per cent. That made China Poland’s second largest import country in the world, just after Germany.
According to statistics, bilateral trade volume has increased by 30 per cent in the last five years. During the same period, Chinese enterprises have invested over USD1.3bn in Poland, creating 14,000 jobs in the country.